Thursday, October 30, 2014

123) Tragedy Looper

This is a unique puzzle solving game where one player takes on the roll of running the game while the remaining players try and solve the puzzle. In the game we played we were trying to figure out who the key person was and then prevent them from dying. The player running the game is trying to kill the key person. Each turn players play cards that allow characters to move or gain experience or fatigue. After cards have been resolved characters perform special actions, which may include different characters getting killed off. When the objective fails the game is reset and the players have another chance to try and figure out how to win.

Anime Theme
Set up and ready to start 
There's been a murder

This game is different from other games I've played. It was a bit of work to figure out what was going on, but once we got into it it was a fun puzzle to solve. A huge bonus is that we played one of many different scenarios, meaning there are tons of new game versions all within this one game. I'm looking forward to trying this again.

122) Times Square

A fun two player game where you're playing cards to move different characters towards your area. On your turn you can play as many of one color card as you want and are able to. You move the corresponding piece/s based on the cards and then score points based on a number of situations. The ultimate goal is to get one of the green figures to your area.

Just getting started 
Red piece is on the move

The game so nice we played it 6 times in a row. The game as a whole works quite nicely together. The special abilities of the characters provide a nice balance. I was surprised that one player could get so far behind and still claw back into the game. Each game is a new puzzle based on the cards you draw and I would recommend giving this a try when you have the chance.

121) Blueprints

In this game each player is secretly building a 6-dice structure based on their blueprints. There is a common pool of dice and each round a player selects a dice from this pool and replaces it with another random dice. The selected die gets added to your building. Once all players have selected 6 dice the structures are revealed and scored. Each color dice scores slightly differently and there are bonus score cards.

Getting set up 
My secret building 
Successfully completed this one

This game felt fairly unique and had an interesting use of dice. This game may suffer a little bit from players getting lucky off of good dice rolls or players that go first getting their choice of obviously better dice, but there are enough different goals that this is mitigated a bit. There is some strategy, but after a couple plays I can see this game getting a bit redundant. Thats compounded by the fact that there's only so many ways to stack six dice and while there are lots of different blueprint cards they are all basically the same. Unfortunately that makes this game a bit repetitive.

120) Roll For It

I was hoping for more from this game. Initially it looked like it could be interesting, but it turned out to be yahtzee with artistic cards. On your turn you roll your remaining dice (or all your dice) and then assign numbers to the available cards. Then the next person takes a turn. When one player has all the dice required by a card that player claims that card.

Nice containers
Working on collecting cards
Stolen from underneath me

This is the poster child for games I don't enjoy. It is essentially roll dice and see if I win. No thanks.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

119) Sumeria

A fun game where you're changing the strength of different areas based on the movement of your pieces. The board is divided into 9 areas, but only the three highest areas will score at the end of each round. On your turn you can add one of your pieces to the board, remove one of your pieces, or move one of your pieces along roads to the next open city. When your piece enters a new region on the board that region will move one step higher in the race to score. Removing a piece bumps a region lower. Your goal is to have more of your pieces in the areas that score then the other players.

Set-up and ready to start
My feelings about this game: "Uruk"
Collecting victory tiles
Despite being a step behind every turn this game was enjoyable. One of the players stated somewhat accurately that the turn before the scoring round is a bit predictable as the optimal move is usually obvious. I feel like my major downfall was trying to plan too much in advance rather then being more flexible and reactive to what others were doing. All in all a fun game to bring out every once in a while.

118) Ginkgopolis

Every time I play this game I think to myself 'Now I remember why I loved this game so much'. There's so much going on despite the fairly straight forward game play. Essentially each turn you choose a card to play (then pass the rest to the next player). Once everyone has selected a card each player goes around and resolves their card, which often adds tiles to the central shared board and can also add cards to an individuals collection. The cards you collect give added bonuses and as the game progress your turns continue to be more profitable. There is also an aspect of area control on the center board that I haven't quite mastered yet.

Just getting started 
View of a 4-player game
Shared board is getting crowded
Individual cards and endgame score

I think this game is awesome. They packed so much strategy into a neat game. The one potential downfall is the lack of a theme. You expect with a cool name like ginkgopolis to have a sweet theme, but it doesn't measure up. This doesn't bother me so much and this game still gets top marks from me.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

117) Pastiche

This is a unique game where you're collecting paint colors to successfully recreate famous works of art and score points. On your turn you play a tile to the central shared area. Any colors on the played tile that are adjacent to another color(s) produce different colored paint. You can then trade colors with other players, combine colors to create new colors, and hopefully paint some of your pieces of art.

Art galore
Trying to paint these masterpieces
Nearing the end of a 4-player game

A fun game that I enjoyed playing. My main complaint is when playing a tile I never felt like I immediately knew what I was making. There is a very handy reference sheet, but even at the end of the game I was spending a fair amount of time just figuring out what I colors I could make. This and a card trading mechanic similar to Settlers of Catan can make for some drawn out turns. Despite this I enjoyed playing and anyone who enjoys art will especially like this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

116) Ticket to Ride

I can't believe it took this long to play this game. This is a classic game that everyone seems to know about. The game play is fairly straight forward. Initially each player starts with two or three route cards that give you bonus points for connecting two different cities (or negative points if you fail to do so).  Then players take turns choosing from one of three actions: Draw track cards, play track cards to build a train route, or draw additional route cards. Once someone has played all but a few of their trains onto the board the game will end.

Playing with my trains before starting
Getting clogged up in the middle
Finished most of my routes

This game is great for all ages and all skill levels. There are tons of expansions and different maps, but for the most part these are very similar to the base game. This game has great tension between wanting to collect more cards and thus have more flexibility in building larger routes and wanting to be the first person to play somewhere so you don't get blocked. Just in writing this review past games come to mind that had different strategies and opportunities to block and chances to do this and that... The fact that this game has left me with so many fun memories is a good sign.

115) Eight-Minute Empire

This was a great little game packed into a little box. After setting up the board the game play is quite straight forward. On your turn you purchase an available card, do the action listed on the bottom, and then add the card to your collection of cards. The goal of the game is to have the most points. You score points in two ways: On the map you get points for controlling different areas and regions and with the cards you collected you get points based on how many like symbols (listed on the top of the card) you have. The actions on the cards allow you to add pieces and move pieces around on the board.

Is this really going to take only 8 minutes? -no-
Initial set-up -check-
Set collection for maximum points
The end of our game
This game was great and the two of us playing came away really wanting to play again. It's so simple and yet so strategic. There's so much going on and so much to consider. The area control and set collection both play into the game really well. All around solid game that I highly recommend.

114) Pagoda

An interesting game where you're playing cards in different colors to build the support for the next floor as well as the actual floor itself. Each time you build a floor of the pagoda you get a couple of bonus powers. On each turn you're able to play a certain number of cards. Each card played builds a part of the pagoda and scores points.

Ready to start
Building up the pagodas
Game over

I'm not quite sure if I like this game. There were a couple things I didn't like. First, some of the bonus powers you get seem WAY better then others. I wish there was more balance here as about half way through the game we were primarily focused on the overpowered bonuses. Second, I feel like the intent of the game was to reward players for building the next level of the pagoda, but in reality it just opened up a greater scoring opportunity for the opponent. The goal of the game is to build up the pagodas, unfortunately it seemed like the player that did this got the raw end of the deal. And finally, the scoring felt really finicky. Any time someone builds something (which is all the time) you're scoring. It's so easy to forget what you scored or didn't score so that was annoying. In the end it was a neat game to try out, but I don't need to play this one again.

113) Jaipur

A fun card game where you're collecting and turning in groups of like cards to then gain points based on how many cards are in your set. The points in each colored set go down as cards are turned in, but you get bonus points for turning in larger groups of cards - thus there is a good push and pull of wanting to turn in cards first, but also wanting to have more of the card type.

Ready to start
First round point total
Resource cards
This has been on my 'want to play' list for a long time. It was definitely fun. The games I played were a bit swingy with the camel mechanic such that one player would be in complete control for a couple turns and then the other player would take control. Despite that I really enjoy games with the tension of wanting to do more being balanced with deciding when to cash in. Overall a good game. I don't think I would rush out and buy it, but would enjoy playing again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

112) Spot It

A fast paced card game that takes less then five minutes to play. Speed and symbol recognition are the key to success. I ended up playing a two player and four player game and both were enjoyable. Each card has exactly one matching symbol with any other card in the deck. The goal of the game is to get rid of your cards by calling out the match on your card with another card and thus discarding your card.

The back of the cards
Lost my two player game
Can you find all the matches

Quick and easy, simple to learn, great for a filler game or to get everyone playing the same game before splitting into smaller groups. My guess is you'll either love this or hate it. If you like games that require real time speed then this is the one for you.

111) This Town Ain't Big Enough for the 2-4 of us

This is a neat tile laying game that feels a lot like Carcassonne. Each player is a different color/symbol. On your turn you play a tile, score any new completely fenced areas, and draw a tile for next turn. The scoring is interesting in that you're only scoring points for colors/symbols that have less presence in the enclosed area then you do.

Incase you thought I made that title up
Tiles with fences
Scoring track

I like this game largely because it was a mental challenge trying to figure out how to have the most of my color in areas, while still having other colors present to score points. I can imagine this game could become overplayed and it could become fairly easy to find the optimal plays. But, having only played it once, I'm excited to try it again. One more positive is that I never felt like I drew a dead tile. I always had somewhere to play my tile that was working towards a goal.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

110) Romans Go Home

In this game you're trying to win different towers for victory points. Each round 6 towers are available to be conquered. Each player draws six cards and lays them upside down in columns corresponding to the towers. Then each player flips up the first column of cards, checks card abilities and assigns the tower to the player with the highest valued card. The winner of the tower removes all their face up cards then the next column of cards is flipped.

Team McRed ready for action
Waiting for a few more cards to be played
Example cards
Not enough points to win

I enjoy the challenge of trying to plan ahead when initially laying your six cards out. You have to consider what other players will do and attempt to find synergy between your cards allowing you to collect the more valuable towers. I expect after 5-10 plays the strategy starts to get a bit repetitive, but I really enjoyed playing this and would recommend it.

109) Cypher

A potentially quick little card game. On your turn you play a card, draw a card, and pass a card to the left and one to the right. Played cards have a point value and a special action. When the game ends, if you have the most points played in front of you, you win.

List of all the cards in the game
My hand during the game

I'm glad I got the chance to play this and would look forward to playing again, but I don't think the long term re-playability is there for this game. After about 5-10 plays I can see getting tired of this game. But, it was fun figuring out different combinations of abilities. It's also a fairly difficult strategy of figuring out when to play one of the two cards that end the game. These two things are what pull me back and make me want to play again.

108) Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia

Another dice game that I really enjoy because the value of dice has relatively little impact on how well you do. Your dice are essentially workers that you place on the board to do certain actions. Generally you're collecting resources, converting resources to heavy metals, unlocking different areas, getting cards with special abilities and so much more. The theme of this game is great. It flows nicely with turns going quite quickly. There is also a good amount of pressure where you want to do everything now, but have to be selective about what you actually accomplish each turn.

Ready to start
My starting setup
Awesome bits

I did really enjoy this game and would recommend playing it. As is the case with many first plays, I started catching on about half way through and then you start to see the connections and of course look forward to playing again with a better understanding of the game. Can't wait to try this one again.

107) Two Rooms and a Boom

This is a 6 minute real time game that is easy to learn and creates fun and interesting social interactions. As seen below there are two color cards. On the red team will be one person with a bomb and the blue team will have one person who is the president. All the cards are shuffled and dealt randomly - one for each player. You then split into two groups (in two different rooms) and you have three minutes to interact with and try and figure out who different people are. Additionally each table elects a leader. At the end of three minutes the leader at each table picks one person who has to join the other group. You then repeat the process for two minutes, then finally for one minute. The game ends and if the president and bomb are in the same room the red team wins whereas if the president isn't in the room with the bomb the blue team wins.

This is all there is to it
I was on team red

This game is interesting to say the least. With so little instruction it can be a bit difficult to figure out what to do. We had a bit of a slow start, by the end had a good idea of what was going on. I'm not sure how much strategy is involved, but its quick enough where that doesn't matter as much. Also, it would be really easy to print up your own version of this game to play.